Course Description

Theology

All Christian education should have at its heart a quest for knowing God.  Formally, this quest involves theology.  Since theology pertains to all of life, as God Himself does, the theology course often matches topics in the humanities and science.  This allows for fruitful cross-pollination.  Each theology course has three sections—philosophical foundations, the faith itself, and family.

Humanities          

Heftier than theology, this course combines history and literature with lots of reading and writing.  The aim is to tell the story of God working throughout Western Civilization and American history.  The history is often taught through a lecture, rather than a textbook.  Reading involves many primary sources, which let the era speak for itself.  Writing consists mainly of essays and book reviews.  Basic facts are often learned with an introductory grammar, like a catechism.  Each course proceeds chronologically, keeping on center stage the works of God, whose deeds are great and just.

Seniors take a two-credit “Public Policy” course, which covers the main topics discussed in the American public square—politics, economics, and medicine/bioethics.  Coupled with earlier years, this course fulfills the Michigan requirement that each student must have a half-credit of civics.

A biblical history and literature course, which reads the entire Bible in two years, is offered to middle school students and to high school students who need help in raising reading proficiency.

Science

Freshmen take a Nature course.  Instead of aiming primarily for understanding causation with an eye towards technology, the naturalist strives for appreciating nature as it is found—alive, with all its wonder!  By God’s grace, the naturalist gains a vocabulary for wit and fuel for worship.

The backbone of the science sequence is the traditional trio of biology, chemistry, and physics.  In each course, students complete a rigorous academic textbook.  Coursework also includes labs and the history of the science.  Overall, the goal is familiarity and intelligent interaction for a lifetime.

Language

The academy offers Greek and some Latin, which are the core languages of Western Civilization.  These languages give students a better comprehension of scientific terms, English vocabulary, theological concepts, and ancient culture in general.  Almost all biological terms come from Greek; and Greek is especially precious to a Christian, because it is the language of the New Testament.  Once students master the alphabet, usually within a few weeks, it differs little from other languages.

Greek is taught first, then Latin.  This reverses the standard order of classical education.  Teaching Greek first encourages fruitful cross-pollination in geometry, biology, and the history of the early church.  Teaching Latin roots and phrases aids the upper-classmen in logic and rhetoric.  Latin grammar is not taught, due to its extreme similarity to Greek—an unnecessary redundancy.

Juniors take logic and seniors take rhetoric.  If the first teaches how to think well, the latter teaches how to speak well.  In the end, seniors listen to classic American speeches and deliver speeches.

English requirements are met through the reading and writing in humanities and through rhetoric.

Mathematics

Math is the language of symbols applied to concrete reality.  The beauty of God’s mind is often seen in the simplicity of mathematical phrases matching the underlying order of the universe.  Such a match testifies to the Creator.  The academy offers pre-algebra, algebra, trigonometry, and precalculus, so that students at various levels can find a fit.  The academy also offers geometry, which differs greatly from the algebra-based sequence.  In a sense, geometry is a rational science, seen by the mind but never seen in the material world—like logic come to life, a mental weight room for practice thinking.  The academy also plans to offer the history of mathematics soon.

Science, language, and math classes meet twice a week.  Tests are taken and graded at school, not at home.  Often two lessons in math are assigned per day.  Math placement tests occur in the start of the year.  The final exam must be passed in order to pass the course, regardless of the other grades.